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Cook interview: iPhones too costly in India, no interest in MVNO
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May 24, 2016, 03:44 PM
 
In one interview given to an Indian television network, Apple CEO Tim Cook acknowledged that the iPhone was "overpriced" in India, saying that he wanted consumers there to be be able to buy iPhones "at a price that looks like the US price." He also talked again about the desire to invest further in India, praising the talent the company wants to invest in. In the StartupFest interview that took place earlier today in Amsterdam, Cook shot down the idea of Apple creating its own "piggyback" carrier network for iPhone users.

Apple has been long-rumored to be interested in creating its own cellular network by becoming a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) to one of the major cellular providers. Asked about the possibility, Cook dismissed the idea, saying "our expertise doesn't extend to the network ... generally, the things Apple likes to do are things we can do globally."

"We've worked with AT&T in the US, O2 in the UK, as well as T-Mobile and Orange, and we expanded as we learned more," Cook said. "We don't have the network skill. We'll do some things along the way with e-SIMs along the way, but in general, I like the things carriers do." The e-SIM Cook referred to is a proposal currently working through the various standards bodies that would allow SIM functionality to be handled by software rather than a physical card, allowing for even thinner smartphones or for other components to go where that tray currently resides now.

Talking to NDTV's Vikram Chandra in an interview that took place during Cook's visit to India, Cook expressed empathy and frustration for what many have said is the major factor holding the iPhone back in the country: its price. "You've got an iPhone here which is more expensive than it is in the US, with less functionality than it would have in the US, and in a country where purchasing power is a fraction of what it is in the US," Chandra said, referring in part to the lack of LTE speeds in most of the country thus far.

While noting that "our profitability is less in India, it's materially less -- but still I recognize that prices are high," Cook blamed the issue on currency differences, along with duties and taxes that increase the price. "We want to do things that lower that over time, to the degree that we can," he said. "I want the consumer in India to be able to buy at a price that looks like the US price." Chandra and Cook also discussed the company's longer-term future in India.



Cook, as he has in other interviews, reiterated that he would like to see all of Apple's services available in India, including Apple Pay. He also repeated the company's interest in investing further in India that it already has, citing the talent available in the region. "That means getting the development community moving on iOS," Cook said. "We're also using a lot of skills in India for [Apple] Maps – the Maps facility [alone] will be several hundred million dollars worth of work."

Asked about creating a custom product or service specifically for the India market, Cook said the company would be willing to look at that if warranted, but also noted that "I don't believe personally in trying to be something you're not," even though India is among the largest markets Apple serves. "We are what we are. We're a California company."
( Last edited by NewsPoster; May 24, 2016 at 06:16 PM. )
     
Inkling
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May 24, 2016, 04:30 PM
 
Cook is right. Apple would be wasting its time becoming a MVNO. What I can't understand is why Amazon hasn't become a cellular reseller, perhaps on a global basis. Sold with a world-ready phone like recent iPhones, it'd use the best available celllular provider anywhere in the world and charge the same reasonable rates. Customers would be delighted. Europeans, currently stuck with a dreadfully Balkanized celllular system, would sign up in the millions.
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TheGreatButcher
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May 24, 2016, 06:01 PM
 
Editor - Cricket is an MVNO of AT&T, not Sprint
     
Charles Martin
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May 24, 2016, 07:22 PM
 
Thanks GB, I will make the correction.
Charles Martin
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Spheric Harlot
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May 25, 2016, 04:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by Inkling View Post
Cook is right. Apple would be wasting its time becoming a MVNO. What I can't understand is why Amazon hasn't become a cellular reseller, perhaps on a global basis. Sold with a world-ready phone like recent iPhones, it'd use the best available celllular provider anywhere in the world and charge the same reasonable rates. Customers would be delighted. Europeans, currently stuck with a dreadfully Balkanized celllular system, would sign up in the millions.
Our roaming charges for data and voice are completely dropping away next summer.
     
   
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